Published Tuesday, 15th December 2020
A letter to Sutton residents from Cllr Ruth Dombey
In Sutton, COVID-19 infection rates have increased from 154.6 per 100,000 to 227.8 per 100,000 in the last week alone. That’s a 45% increase in just seven days.
Until now, I haven’t written to you with specific details of the infection rates in Sutton. Not because they’re not important, but because the picture can change so quickly. And because big numbers talking about infections per 100,000 residents can feel abstract or distant from our day-to-day lives.
But the situation is really serious now and I need your help to share the messages in this letter with everyone in our community.
We all need to take action now to reduce the spread of infection.
Last week we received the welcome news that a safe, effective vaccine is already being delivered to priority groups here in Sutton. This seems like the news we have all been waiting for. While it will take time to roll out, a safe vaccine will be key to enabling a return to normality.
In the coming weeks, we will be expanding our programme of asymptomatic testing as well.
The vaccine and the widespread testing are tools that bring us a step closer to the end of this challenging period. But we can’t rely on these alone: we mustn’t abandon the other tools that we have.
Please remember that although there is an end in sight now, we need to keep up with handwashing, wearing face coverings and social distancing.
Yesterday’s announcement that Sutton, along with the rest of London, is to move into Tier 3 from Wednesday shows how important additional public health measures are.
I don’t underestimate the challenge Tier 3 presents - to individuals, to businesses, to so many in our community who have been craving social contact, yearning for news that would relieve our anxiety about our health, our financial security and our children’s educations.
This year has not been easy, but now is not the time to let down our guard.
If you are in an eligible group for vaccination or for asymptomatic testing, you will be contacted directly and invited to attend. Please don’t contact your GP or other NHS contacts asking to have it before then.
Until the vaccine rollout has reached enough people to protect our community and our NHS, we need to continue to implement other measures.
Please, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, consider where, when and with who you need to meet face-to-face and make sure that you do it in as safe a way as possible.
None of this is easy, and if you need support, it is available to you.
Thank you for everything you have done already this year. And, please, let’s work together to keep Sutton safe.
With best wishes,
Ruth Dombey, leader of Sutton Council